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      In vivo Effects of Mitoxantrone on the Production of Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokines by Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Patients

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          Objective: Mitoxantrone is an antineoplastic agent also used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, despite its efficacy, few data are available on its mechanism of action.The current study was designed to evaluate the short-term (1 month) and long-term (12 months) in vivo effects of mitoxantrone on pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine production by the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of secondary progressive MS patients. Methods: Eighteen patients with secondary progressive MS underwent mitoxantrone therapy (at a dose of 12 mg/m<sup>2</sup> once every 3 months) over a 1-year period. Blood samples were obtained at baseline, after 1 month and after 12 months of treatment. The production of cytokines in the PBMC was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: There were no significant effects of mitoxantrone on proinflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL) 6 and IL-12p40] and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10 and transforming growth factor-β) in our patients. Patients who showed no signs of therapeutic response were characterized by a higher basal PBMC production of IL-6 compared with that of the responding patients (p < 0.05) and mitoxantrone reduced this production after 12 months of treatment (p < 0.05). In the responding patients, IL-10 was significantly increased by mitoxantrone after 12 months of treatment (p < 0.05). Conclusion: These findings provide additional information useful in the selection of the patient population suitable for mitoxantrone treatment and suggest that most probably the therapeutic action of mitoxantrone in MS is not entirely mediated by its immunosuppressant effects.

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          IL-6 in autoimmune disease and chronic inflammatory proliferative disease

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            Therapeutic effect of mitoxantrone combined with methylprednisolone in multiple sclerosis: a randomised multicentre study of active disease using MRI and clinical criteria.

            To evaluate the efficiency of mitoxantrone in multiple sclerosis. Forty two patients with confirmed multiple sclerosis, selected as having a very active disease on clinical and MRI criteria were randomised to receive either mitoxantrone (20 mg intravenously (IV) monthly) and methylprednisolone (1 g iv monthly) or methylprednisolone alone over six months. In the steroid alone group five patients dropped out due to severe exacerbation. Blinded analysis of MRI data showed significantly more patients with no new enhancing lesions in the mitoxantrone group compared with the steroid alone group, (90% v 31%, P < 0.001). In the mitoxantrone group there was a month by month decrease almost to zero in the number of new enhancing lesions, and in the total number of enhancing lesions, whereas both remained high in the steroid alone group. The differences were significant for both indices at all months from 1-6. Unblinded clinical assessments showed a significant improvement in change in EDSS at months 2-6 in the mitoxantrone group, with a final mean improvement of more than one point (-1.1 v + 0.3; P < 0.001). There was a significant reduction in the number of relapses (7 v 31; P < 0.01), and an increase in the number of patients free of exacerbation (14 v 7; P < 0.05). In this selected group of patients with multiple sclerosis with very active disease, mitoxantrone combined with methylprednisolone was effective in improving both clinical and MRI indices of disease activity over a period of six months whereas methylprednisolone alone was not. Further double blinded long term studies are needed to properly evaluate the effect of mitoxantrone on progression in disability.
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              Decreased interleukin-10 and increased interleukin-12p40 mRNA are associated with disease activity and characterize different disease stages in multiple sclerosis.

              It has been shown that proinflammatory and antiinflammatory cytokines correlate with disease activity in multiple sclerosis (MS). To establish whether such correlations depend on the disease stage, we assessed in a longitudinal fashion the expression of interleukin (IL)-12 (p40 and p35), tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interferon-gamma, and IL-10 mRNA by competitive polymerase chain reaction in unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells of relapsing-remitting (RR) and secondary progressive (SP) MS patients, in relation to monthly clinical and magnetic resonance imaging monitoring. MS patients had increased levels of IL-12p40 and decreased levels of IL-10 mRNA compared with controls; this difference was most pronounced in SP patients. Both RR and SP patients had increased levels of IL-12p40 mRNA compared with controls during the development of active lesions. Moreover, in RR MS an increase was found before relapse. IL-12p35 mRNA was decreased in both groups, and in relation to disease activity it showed a pattern different from IL-12p40 mRNA. In RR MS, IL-10 mRNA was low 4 weeks before magnetic resonance imaging activity and 6 weeks before relapse; a significant increase to normal levels was noted when active lesions became apparent. In contrast, SP patients showed low IL-10 mRNA levels constitutively, suggesting that IL-10 plays an important role in the control of disease progression.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                November 2006
                24 November 2006
                : 13
                : 2
                : 76-81
                aDepartment of Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, Catholic University and bFondazione Don C. Gnocchi, Rome, Italy
                95762 Neuroimmunomodulation 2006;13:76–81
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, References: 34, Pages: 6
                Original Paper


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